The girls were just 3 and 4 when Glen passed away. Their dad was not in their lives at the time. I had all sorts of pressure and stress on me. I struggled! It was hard! Nothing made sense, nothing seemed right and life actually felt surreal in that season.
Glen was just 47 when cancer took him home to Heaven. He himself was a single dad to two older boys, and was the pseudo and stepdad to my little girls. He came to Christ just after being taken out of an induced coma in the intensive care unit, and before he knew he had cancer and was not going to survive.
It was a scary time in my life. I fought depression. I fought the grieving process. I did not want to be where I was! I did not want to endure what I was going through! I can remember crying myself to sleep every night!
In fact the one and only time I have ever heard the audible voice of God was during this time… sobbing and crying and wailing in my room, I kept screaming out “God where are you?!”… And I heard “I am here” from the ceiling corner of my room. It stopped me dead in my tracks! Instant! Then I thought I must be losing my mind and kept on crying… but to this day I distinctly remember it. I don’t know if it was real (and I don’t want to debate it either)… but I heard it out loud.
I need to note here, that I really had been doing everything wrong in my life for some time. While I called myself a Christian and attended church regularly, I had left my first husband, had children out of wedlock with someone else, then after that, had been living with another man (Glen). It is fairly safe to say that I was NOT the shinning example of “Christian living” (Woman at the well even comes to mind)! And yet – get this – this is the amazing part! – after ALL that, God STILL loved me! He loved me enough to let me know He was there that night! He loved me enough for me to ‘stumble’ across songs like this, which would somehow see me through that season!
Even today when I hear this song, it takes me back to a place I really never thought I would make it out of… Yet I did.
Somehow, purely through the grace of God, I am here today! I dared to believe… I kept pressing through… I sought counseling (from a Christian counselor), I joined Alanon, I eventually dealt with the grief of losing Glen and God even took me on this ‘grand adventure’ of purging all sorts of things in my life ranging as far back as childhood issues. It was messy, it was hard, it was like peeling an onion layer by layer, getting to root issues and causes… there were tears, and anger, and it hurt… But I can tell you this – IT WAS WORTH IT!
After all that, my joy did come in the morning! After each layer was peeled, after each bit of grief was dealt with, after each pain was released, there was joy! And the joy continues today!
We go through things… things we don’t want to go through… things that don’t make sense in the moment… things that hit us hard and we want to run from… in the end, they are all good – believe it or not!!
I can truly testify that if I had not gone through all that, I would not be where I am today. I had to dump the baggage and go through the grieving process in order to allow room inside for all the joy that has been brought into my life. I could not have the marriage I have today if I was still holding on to yesterday’s hurts and harms. I could not be the Mom that I am today if I wasn’t able to let go of the childhood issues I unknowingly held on to.
I share my stories and my life in this manner because I know there are others out there who struggle or are going through similar things. I hope to encourage you!! There is hope and joy does come!!
We are going to walk through things that truly feel like the valley of the shadow of death. We have an enemy out to get us, derail us, take us off track and deter us from God. And yes, in the moment it can be really easy and may seem simpler to avoid, deny, give in, but the blessing and freedom truly are on the other side of what we are going through. In your darkest tunnel, hold on to the light that shines within in you!
As The Message translation puts Psalm 23:4-6: “Even when the way goes through Death Valley, I’m not afraid when you walk at my side. Your trusty shepherd’s crook makes me feel secure. You serve me a six-course dinner right in front of my enemies. You revive my drooping head; my cup brims with blessing. Your beauty and love chase after me every day of my life. I’m back home in the house of God for the rest of my life.”
I think that is so poetic!! And I can tell you that trials in my world today are dealt with much differently than before. God is my shepherd and with Him guiding me, I do have joy!! When I let go, when I don’t fight, when I let conviction do its work, when I live focused on Him, it is ALL better!!
With me, it did indeed take time… but I do now see the bigger picture!! So, Hold on! Wait for the light! Press on and fight the good fight! The pain that you’ve been feeling is just the dark before the morning, is just the hurt before the healing, and it can’t compare to the joy that’s coming! May our loving Father bless you LOTS!!